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Both Origin skippers declared last night’s Harvey Norman State of Origin the biggest game they have ever played in and over four million fans have agreed, making the 2012 decider the most watched Origin match in history and Nine’s highest ever rating program in Sydney since the introduction of OzTAM ratings.

The 2012 series is now officially the highest rating Origin series of all time.

Across Nine, WIN and NBN, 4.041 million fans tuned in to last night’s epic third game as the XXXX Queensland Maroons scored a stunning 21-20 win over the VB NSW Blues in front of a sell-out crowd of 52,437 at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium.

In the process they sent television records tumbling:

•    Last night’s match was the highest rating Origin nationally, with an average audience of 4.041 million. The previous record was 3.96 million, set in Game 1 of this year’s series;

•    It was the highest rating Origin series in history, with 11.87 million average viewers tuning in across the three games. (Previous record 10.77 million in 2011);

•    Last night’s match recorded the highest ever five capital city audience for any Rugby League match in history – 2.68 million – surpassing the 2005 Telstra Premiership Grand Final (2.563 million);

•    Game 3 and Game 2 this year are now the first and second highest rating programs ever on Channel 9 in Sydney respectively since the OzTAM ratings were introduced in 2001;

•    The match is the number one sports program on any channel to date in 2012;

•    Last night’s match achieved the highest ever ratings for Origin in Melbourne, with a record average audience of 421,000.

Across Regional Australia, on the NBN and WIN networks, the match also attracted an average audience of 1.361 million.

In addition, in New Zealand, an average audience of 180,500 viewers tuned in to watch the match on Sky Sports.

“Harvey Norman State of Origin is one of the greatest sporting contests in the world but this year’s series has incredibly taken it to a new level,” ARL Commission Interim Chief Executive, Mr Shane Mattiske, said today.

“The passion for the NSW and Queensland teams throughout the three Harvey Norman State of Origin matches has captured the imagination of the whole country.

“On behalf of the ARL Commission I would like to thank the players, the coaches and the fans, as well as congratulate Queensland for a historic seven series wins in a row.

“I would also like to acknowledge the support of our series sponsor, Harvey Norman, and our broadcast partner, the Nine Network.”

Both captains lauded the power, skill and speed of the contest in the post-match press conferences.

“That will go down in history as one of the best Origins,” XXXX Maroons skipper Cameron Smith said.

“It was so close, two great football sides, there was never really too much of a gap on the scoreboard and it went right down to the wire.

“That’s what Origin football’s about.”

NSW VB Blues captain Paul Gallen added: “It’s one of the best games I have been involved in. Everyone certainly got their money’s worth.”

Nine Network Managing Director, Mr Jeffrey Browne, said today: “You could travel around the world, far and wide, and not find a greater sporting experience than last night’s decider in the 2012 Harvey Norman State of Origin Series.

“The players, the coaches, the concept that is Origin, how could you do anything but stand and cheer?

“The highest-rating Rugby League contest in the history of OzTam, above all Grand Finals and Test matches – everything – that says it all.

“We’re very proud of the Nine Network’s Wide World of Sports team. That’s why we’re sending them off to London and this month’s Olympic Games – to the other side of the world in search of one of the few sporting experiences to rival the blockbuster we have just seen.

“Rest assured, our story-tellers are hard at work.”

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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